Heater Or No Heater, That Is the question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by yankeedoodle300, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. yankeedoodle300

    yankeedoodle300 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2011
    Chicken Heaven
    Heater Or No Heater, That Is the question. Whether Tis Nobler... Err, Forget that Junk.

    but Really, Should i Put a heater in my Coop or not?

    I've Heard stuff about a " Winter Layer " With Fat and Feathers and stuff like that about My Girls body, and i Heater will mess that up.
    or, That's what i heard.

    But anyway, Should I Get a Heater Or Not?
  2. terryg

    terryg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 5, 2007
    New England
    Unless you are somewhere like Alaska, you don't need a heater. Chickens stay toasty by fluffing up their feathers and trapping warm air next to their bodies - just like why we wear down coats. If they stand under a heater, they don't fluff. Then, when they move away from the heat they aren't insulated. If their food isn't under the heat lamp they won't eat enough. It's not good for them to go from warm to cold. Besides that, heaters use electricity, there's a chance of fire, and will be on all night (my hens like a little shut-eye.) That said, if you have silkies or frizzles, use a heater. Those birds can't trap warmth under their feathers like the others. Also, if you have a damp, drafty coop (which you shouldn't anyway!!!) use a heater. I've more about caring for hens in cold weather on my blog:
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Tis a personal choice.

    Animals tend to grow a thicker coat (of feathers or fur) as they naturally adapt to cold weather. Some feel that adding suppl. heat would interfere with that natural process.
    Some worry that if suppl. heat is used, and there is a power outtage and the heat was lost, the birds would suffer.
    Some view their chickens as farm animals, while others view their birds as pets.

    My chickens are pets, so I do the same for them as I would if I had outdoor dogs/cats - I add suppl. heat. on the coldest nights of winter, enough to warm things up a little bit, but not enough that they'd suffer if they lost it. My dogs are use to 70 degree indoor temps, so if they had to spend the night outside in 8 degree weather, they'd be hurting. But if they were use to 30 degree temps and dropped down to single digits, they'd do okay. I wonder if perhaps the folks who worry about the temp. differences assume people are actually "heating" their chicken coops (like heating a house) rather than just adding a bit of supplemental warmth??? [​IMG]

    As most care of animals is concerned, it comes down to personal choice/beliefs.
  4. ChickInDelight

    ChickInDelight Never an Empty Nest

    Apr 27, 2011
    Browntown, VA
    I want to place a heat lamp in mine to keep the auto-waterers from freezing. Mine has TONS of ventilation, but I may cover more when it gets cold. I am in Northern Virginia. I am also uncertain whether this is a good idea. I pile hay inside - duckhouse with roosts added for my 4 hens.

  5. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Heating your coop is a decision only you can make. Google for information and you'll find lots of different information and opinions. Either heating or not can work depending on your set up.
    Chickens can live through low temps, but there are lots of other factors involved in winter care, than just 1 number. What is the winter weather where you live? Is your coop insulated? Is the coop ventilated? How damp, humid is it? Drafty? + many more.
    Some breeds are not cold hardy. It is possible for chickens to freeze or get frostbite and infection.
    There are safe ways to add supplemental heat.
    This topic is debated a lot here on BYC with lots of misinformation.

    Good luck & do the research,

  6. ridgewood chickens

    ridgewood chickens Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 21, 2011
    Monadnock Region, NH
    This will be my first winter with chickens, and I'm going to try and go without supplemental heat. I insulated my coop, and will be putting in a vent in the near future to take care of any condensation inside. I have read all kinds of different opinions on this subject, but I grew up on a farm and we did not have any type of heat for any of the animals, including chickens, and I don't remember it being a problem. Anyway, for what it's worth!
  7. JackE

    JackE Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    Don't waste your time and money(ElectricBill) on adding heat. You have BuffOrps(I have 4 of them myself), They can easily handle a NorthCarolina winter. I'm north of you and I have no heat or insulation in my coop and the whole front of my coop is open. I get eggs year round and the chickens are healthy.
  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Yep, heat or no heat is a personal decision. There are members in alaska who do not heat...
  9. yankeedoodle300

    yankeedoodle300 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2011
    Chicken Heaven
    Quote:OK. umm, How Cold Does it Have to Be For Buff Orpingtons To Freeze To Death, Or Get Frostbite?
  10. pawsplus

    pawsplus Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 18, 2008
    Middle TN
    Quote:Ditto here. I have a 250 watt infrared heat lamp in the coop, which goes on when it gets down below freezing. It warms things up just enough to add a bit of comfort, but I don't notice a difference when I walk in--still feels cold to me! The chicks can choose to be under the lamp or not.

    Just b/c someone can survive in colder temps doesn't mean they should be forced to. My horses have blankets, my dogs and cats have my house, and my chickens have their heat lamp. I see no reason to ask my pets to suffer when alternatives are available!

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